“I’m surprised you knew how to find your way here”- the optician said as she issued me with a new pair of glasses. Apparently my prescription is so strong and eyesight so dire that it was a miracle I could see where I was going. I had been putting off getting my eyes retested for a few years now- 4 to be exact, despite being told that I needed to be seen every 2. But anyone who wears glasses and has the misfortune of needing Deirdre Barlow (God rest her soul) bottle top lenses knows how incredibly expensive going to the opticians can be; it can easily set you back a few hundred pounds and that’s without being extravagant.
This time however I couldn’t avoid the inevitable- I in my natural clumsiness managed to break into two one of the lenses on my last remaining pair of glasses by rolling over it with my chair whilst at work (don’t ask how that happened.). The need to get new glasses was more urgent than ever. Thankfully I had a voucher from my former employer which entitled me to £100 off a new pair of glasses, which needed to be redeemed before the end of 2014! And armed with a mission to be as frugal as possible I decided to see what else I could do to reduce costs. So I had a look online and noticed Specsavers had its usual 2 for 1 offer but were also offering £10 eye test for a limited period only.
All in all the total cost for my glasses were £200- which is phenomenal value including condensing the lenses which can be very expensive and two pairs of sturdy designer frames. And because of the £100 off voucher, I only needed to pay £100 of my own money-result!
There are other ways which you can reduce costs when getting a new pair of glasses:
- Get your eyes tested in store but order your glasses online-this can save quite a bit of money.
- Use your own frames- if you happen to have your own stylish pair of frames lying around at home, all you have to do is pay for the cost of the lenses and getting them inserted-making potentially huge savings.
- As mentioned, check the benefits package at your place of employment. Even the most stingy of workplaces will have a benefits scheme which should include a discount towards eyewear especially if your work entails sitting in front of a computer screen for long periods of time.
- Look online for vouchers, offers and discounts– Specsavers have them all the time but there are other opticians who do too -just keep your eyes open.
It was a relief to see clearly again and appreciate the finer details of things that would normally pass me by. But my new glasses also got me thinking of people in the developing world who can’t access eyecare so easily-either because of financial or geographical restrictions. Many end up blind without needing to. It can be so easy to take this for granted, so, keen to make use of my old glasses I searched for any organisations that recycled old glasses and came across Vision Aid Overseas (www.visionaidoverseas.org ). I will be sending my old glasses on in the hope that they will be reworked to give sight to someone else. Similarly I have also decided to donate some cash to them; there are a number of other charities such as Sightsavers (www.sightsavers.org)– who also do incredible work to save people’s eye sight in poor communities across the world. The point of me telling you this is not to guilt trip you into doing either but to be mindful. Next time you happen to get your eyes tested, why not consider blessing someone with the same gift of clear vision?